Saturday, May 25, 2013

Blazon Stone - Return To Port Royal

Ready for boarding? The mad genius behind Sweden’s Rocka Rollas is back with another band: Blazon Stone. Though the band name is different, the influence of Running Wild still runs rampant. With their first album, Blazon Stone have created the most authentic Running Wild worship in existence. In fact, at this point, it’s better to forget that Rock ‘n Rolf is still going, and to just start listening to Blazon Stone instead. From the second the opening melody in “Intro” hits, you will be reminded of those jolly, pirate-like moments that made the original band sound so great. The bass drum picks up the beat a little bit, and things could not be sounding more perfect. Over the course of the next 8 songs, Blazon Stone fully immerses the listener in a world of pirates and speed metal!

Everything about these songs shows how well the band has studied Running Wild. The riffing has plenty of tremolo-picked melodies that, while similar in sound to what you’d expect, never rip-off Rolf. Likewise, the drumming has the same speedy attack. The vocals are perhaps the most differentiating aspect of Blazon Stone; however, they are still appropriate for the music. Some of the choruses (“Return to Port Royal” and “Curse of the Ghost Ship”, among others) make use of haunting, powerful backing vocals. Aside from the great musical performance, what really drives “Return to Port Royal” is the fantastic songwriting. “Stand Your Line” is an old-school rocker that would fit right in with “Renegade” or any other number of Running Wild tunes. The last two tracks gave off a “Lions of the Sea” vibe, while also projecting an epic atmosphere. They may be lengthy songs, but they never wear thin on the listener. If I had to point out a negative point to this record, I suppose it would be the chorus of “Amistad Rebellion”. This is another tracking using plenty of backing vocals, but it feels as though the band was trying to throw too many words in the chorus, and it ends up feeling more muddled than enjoyable. This use of wordy choruses is actually prevalent on other songs, but is executed much better on those tracks. With that said, the rest of “Amistad Rebellion” is as enjoyable as the other 7 full songs.

It’s difficult to say a lot about Blazon Stone, primarily because they’ve done such a great job of paying tribute to Running Wild. The quality of “Return to Port Royal” is as strong as records like “Pile of Skulls” and “Masquerade”, and I consider this record to be more of an extension of Running Wild than actual worship. This album is a prime example of heavy metal done correctly, and if you can’t enjoy “Return to Port Royal”, heavy metal may not be for you.

"Stand Your Line"
"Curse of The Ghost Ship"

Final Rating
4.5/5 or 90%. 

Written by Scott